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Deadly school shooting in Finland blamed on bullying

In News, World
April 03, 2024

A 12-year-old opened fire at a school in the suburbs of the Finnish capital Helsinki on Tuesday.

Police in Finland have said that bullying was the motive behind Tuesday’s deadly school shooting on the outskirts of Helsinki.

The 12-year-old who opened fire on classmates has said that he was the victim of bullying, police said on Wednesday. They added that investigations so far support the claim.

One 12-year-old boy died in the shooting, and two girls were seriously injured.

“The motive for the act has been confirmed to be bullying,” police said in a statement.

“The suspect has said during interrogations that he was the target of bullying, and this information has also been confirmed in the preliminary investigation by the police.”

The suspect had only attended the Viertola School in Vantaa, a suburb of Helsinki, since the beginning of the year.

He was arrested after fleeing the scene. Police said he had threatened other students outside the school before he was arrested.

Vantaa city officials refused to comment on whether school administrators were aware of the bullying.

The shooter, who used a handgun licensed by a close relative, wore a mask and noise-cancelling headphones when he carried out the attack, according to Finnish broadcaster MTV Uutiset.

Police have opened an investigation into murder and attempted murder, but due to the suspect’s age, he has been handed over to social services.

The owner of the gun is being investigated for “a separate firearms offence”, police said.

Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo called the shooting deeply shocking.

“My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the other students and staff,” he said on X.

The incident has put a focus on the country’s gun policy.

Like the United States, Finland has high rates of gun ownership, but incidents of gun violence and school shootings in the country are rare.

Gun legislation was tightened in 2010, introducing an aptitude test for all firearms licence applicants. The minimum age for applicants was also raised from 18 to 20.

There are more than 1.5 million licensed firearms and about 430,000 licence holders in Finland, a nation of 5.6 million people where hunting and target shooting are popular.

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